Tuesday, December 04, 2007

the simple life ...

For the past year Dave and I have shared one car. The switch from both of us driving our own vehicles to my parking my car in the driveway and always taking his happened quite literally overnight.

Last year, about this time, Seattle had a horrible wind storm and I found myself rushing to make it across the bridge before the DOT determined that crossing the bridge with 50+MPH winds was a bad idea. Miata + Floating Bridge + High Winds = white knuckles. The next morning we awoke to snow. The fate of the Miata was sealed, it would stay in the driveway for then next 11 months while I slowly came to the conclusion that perhaps my days of driving a convertible were numbered.

As I mulled over the idea of giving up my car persona, Dave too was thinking of life with something different then his Subaru. The conclusion to both our issues was simple. We would become a real one car family once and for all.

You'd think that since we were already driving one vehicle that the giving up two cars would be easy. Yes and No. I think the idea of not having a second car available is much more stressful that the reality of what this means to our daily lives. After all, we are in walking distance to shopping, we both have bus passes (although I don't yet know how to ride the bus), and we are getting hooked up with the Flex Car program. But, still it is a bit of a mental adjustment.

Week one has definitely had its pluses and minuses.

Plus - I was sans car on Saturday which was fantastic! I knew I wanted to go to an art sale. I also knew that to do this I would have to walk or take the bus. So I bundled up in hat and gloves and set out with my trusty map (don't laugh.) The great thing about walking is that you get to see (and stop by) all sorts of great shops that you would normally speed past. The other great thing is that since you are walking you can't carry home the fantastic (albeit expensive) 6ft tall metal lamp that you fell in love with.

Minus - Last night was a bit of a puzzle as I had an appointment and Dave had a friend in town. After some wrangling we decided that Dave would drop me off and he and Mick would go to dinner and then I would meet up with them when I was done. Unfortunately our new car also has this very cool smart card feature which means that Dave was able to drive away and not know that he didn't actually have any keys until after he had parked the car. Fortunately, I was not far away so I was able to meet up with them and wave my magic card over the car so that we could get home.

And so it begins, the simple life. With one week under my belt I am looking forward to learning how to take the bus and more opportunities to walk my city. This may be the begining of something really great. I'll let you know.

Friday, November 02, 2007

1000 places to see...

The view from your back yard ...

the fruits of Dave's labor ...

Home grown tomatoes + roasted peppers = Yummy Soup

grandpa butch ...

I decided to try something different. This is my memory of my grandfather's barn.

Dia de la muerta

I just completed my last trip to Mexico. I will miss the friends I have made over the years and the city I have come to know as my second home. In celebration of the Dia de la Muerta I baked a traditional bread and a not so traditional spicy chili chocolate cake. Here are the results.

This cake as a wicked kick ....

Monday, October 08, 2007

a year of planning and transition ...

Last week I celebrated another birthday. The last couple of years I have tried to document the big events and capture them in a blog post that would sum up a life lesson. This year, I started to write and nothing. I started again, nothing. I decided that clearly I hadn't done anything during the past year. Over dinner, I shared with Dave how I have become the human equivalent of a slug. Dave gently reminded me that this was the year of planning and transition.

So, here is my year in summation.

October - April: Planning for the most incredibly wonderful experience of my life thus far. - Marrying Dave.
April - October: Transitioning away from the job that in many ways had defined who I am as an adult.

The lessons I learned this year are more difficult to capture then simply saying I tried something new. And to be totally honest, I haven't completely come to terms what what that lesson is. I think that I am still transforming and it may be awhile down the road before I understand how I have changed as a result of this year. What I do know is that I am exceptionally fortunate. This has been the year of love and friendship and understanding truly what is really important to me. A funny thing happens when you come to a fork in the road. Sometimes, you get to make a choice that will determine the rest of your life.

So here's to another new year.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

you're hired....????!!!!!

The job search / candidate search is kind of like going out on a blind date. Sure that friend of a friend's aunt said that his cousin was nice but what do you really know. Having been on both sides of the table recently I had to laugh when I came across this list of actual expediences recruiters and hiring managers have had with potential candidates. I think my favorite is #13. We should all be able to "phone a friend" if we are not sure what the right answer is.

  1. Candidate said he was so well-qualified [that] if he didn't get the job, it would prove that the company's management was incompetent.
  2. Stretched out on the floor to fill out the job application.
  3. Chewed bubble gum and constantly blew bubbles.
  4. Candidate kept giggling through serious interview.
  5. She wore a Walkman and said she could listen to me and the music at the same time.
  6. Balding candidate abruptly excused himself. Returned to office a few minutes later, wearing a hairpiece.
  7. Applicant challenged interviewer to arm wrestle.
  8. Asked to see interviewer's resume to see if the personnel executive was qualified to judge the candidate.
  9. Announced she hadn't had lunch and proceeded to eat a hamburger and french fries in the interviewer's office.
  10. Without saying a word, candidate stood up and walked out during the middle of the interview.
  11. Man wore jogging suit to interview for position as financial vice president.
  12. Said if he were hired, he would demonstrate his loyalty by having the corporate logo tattooed on his forearm.
  13. Interrupted to phone his therapist for advice on answering specific interview questions.
  14. Wouldn't get out of the chair until I would hire him. I had to call the police.
  15. When I asked him about his hobbies, he stood up and started tap dancing around my office.
  16. Had a little pinball game and challenged me to play with him.
    (I've actually brought my DS to an interview but I think it was relevant.... I think ...)
  17. Bounced up and down on my carpet and told me I must be highly thought of by the company because I was given such a thick carpet.
  18. Pulled out a Polaroid camera and snapped a flash picture of me. Said he collected photos of everyone who interviewed him.
  19. During the interview, an alarm clock went off from the candidate's brief case. He took it out, shut it off, apologized and said he had to leave for another interview.
  20. He took off his right shoe and sock, removed a medicated foot powder and dusted it on the foot and in the shoe. While he was putting back the shoe and sock, he mentioned that he had to use the powder four times a day, and this was the time.
  21. She threw-up on my desk, and immediately started asking questions about the job, like nothing had happened.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Pobre Tomate

At the beginning of the summer Dave and I entered into the "Great Tomato Showdown" with our friends Brad and Lynette. Now, with the summer coming to an end, our tomato plants are taller than I am and dripping with mostly unripened fruit - Fried Green Tomatoes anyone?

The cherry tomatoes were the first to turn red and we guarded each fruit as if it were a rare treasure. In fact, we took the first tomato over to our friends house and carefully carved it into 4 quarters so we could each taste the first tomato of the season. But now... I am beginning to sense that I will soon be drowning in ripe tomatoes. So, while Dave was away I decided to experiment with the first crop and roasted a batch for use later in pasta's, saladas, etc... After three hours cooking in a slow oven the smell of tomatoes permiated through the entire house. The result was a sweet carmalized tomato with just a bit of chew to it. Yum.

I shared the news of our burggeoning crop with Brad and Lynette and they shared that they have moved onto cucumbers instead. I guess that is the end of the "Great Tomoato Showdown." Poor Poor Tomato, you've been upstaged by the cucumber again.

Veggietales - Dance of the cucumber

Monday, July 30, 2007

me translated ....

rarely irritated, positive, tough, non phobic, fearless, likes the unknown, self reliant, high self control, confident, trusting, strong instincts, prudent, optimistic, willful, likes parties, prefers a specialized career, takes charge, altruistic, strong, high self concept, adventurous, practical, thoughtful

personality tests by similarminds.com

Friday, July 27, 2007

never say goodbye - Etna High - ...

so, I did not go to my class reunion.
And I am amazed to say I don't recognize most of these people.
It would make for an interesting game show. "Name that Classmate."
If they all got older, does that mean that I am older too?

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

in memory ...

Tommorrow we will celebrate my grandmother's life. Although my relationship with my grandmother was often complicated, as a child she filled me with wonder. Her love of the world around her influenced every aspect of who I am. These are the words I will share about my grandmother ...

Sometimes when you split open a rock you discover a magical world inside. A rainbow of colors reflecting off the crystals hidden deep within the earthy crust. My grandmother knew this secret about rocks and my grandmother knew this secret about people. Behind every unassuming crust my grandmother believed something wonderful existed and she spent her life splitting the outer shell to find the crystals inside.

It is hard for most of us to recognize the beauty in front of us. Not so for my grandmother. Throughout my childhood each visit was market by a walk in the woods. There she taught me to see the trees through the forest. I learned how to spot a shooting star among a pile of pine needles and when the wild dogwood would show his fleeting blossoms. It was there alongside the river where my grandmother was the most beautiful. Her spirit glowed and she reflected the wonderment of everything she saw.

On visits when it was either too cold or too wet to go to the woods my grandmother and I would sit at the piano. She would teach me how to roll my knuckles over the black keys to play a simple song and eventually I would bring my lesson books to play for her. Always our time would end with the song Puff the Magic Dragon. I loved the song but hated it when Jackie Horner grew up.

Eventually I too grew up. And, although our time together changed the experiences shared and lessons learned stayed with me.

On Saturday my husband and I headed out to the woods with our dog. It was nearly noon by the time we reached the trail head and although the clouds had parted from the evening's storm, the air was still heavy with the remnants of the summer rain. Test and Dave ran ahead and soon I found myself alone on the path and headed down toward the river. Trillium covered the forest floor and patches of daisies reached toward the summer sun. I could hear Test running ahead, finding a shallow pool and plunging in in search of her stick. Among the trees and with my dog splashing in the distance my grandmother's rock split open. All the treasures hidden within my grandmother were there for me to see.

I could hear the music as it flowed from her fingers and her voice, warm and sweet as she told me stories of the Indian princess locked forever on Mt. Shasta. I could taste her sugar cookies as they dissolved on my tongue, so thin and delicate you could see the Christmas lights shine through as you held them up to your mouth. I could feel her hand wrapped gently around mine as together we guided the paint from the end of the brush into a flower. I could see the blue of her eyes reflecting off of mine and then up into the sky above us. Her spirit glowed and the wonderment of everything she was reflected off of everything I saw.

Many many moons ago, as my grandmother would tell it, our ancestors walked the paths connecting the mountains that surround us. Their spirits now blow in the wind and guide us as we walk along our life's path. Many many moons from now my grandmothers spirit will continue to flow through these mountains. Joined with her ancestors she will seek to show us that treasures that lie just beneath the crust.

My grandmother saw the beauty within each of us. Celebrate this beauty in yourself, seek it out in others, recognize it in the animals, hear it in the rustling of the trees and imagine it waiting to be discovered just beneath the earthy crust of the rocks you pass by.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

sunset ...

my grandmother ...

The last two months have been really difficult. Faced with the prospect of early retirement I found myself wallowing in self-doubt and agonizing over what I should do with my future. Every action I took was painful and I often felt victimized by my own life choices. What if I hadn't chosen this career. What if I had never moved to the city. What if I had ...

Throughout this time I have continued to try to look at the opportunity, face the things that scare me, and realize that the future is undefined. But to be truthful, in the midst of change the life lessons I have collected thus far never seem to be enough to push me forward.

Three weeks ago we were back home and went to visit my grandmother, who was celebrating her 92nd birthday. My grandmother was an extremely talented, beautiful and accomplished woman. Her paintings were detailed and full of life. She was an meticulous musician. Her butter cookies were so paper thin and delicate that you could see the light from the Christmas tree shine through them as you held them up to your mouth. She was an avid naturalist. Up through her late 80s she could still find and hike every trail in the N.Cal mountains and tell you exactly where and when the rarest of the wild flowers would make their fleeting appearance. She wore beautiful clothes and had striking blue eyes that contrasted dramatically against her dark hair. She had a wonderful grandmotherly voice with which she told fantastic stories of Indian princesses and the guardian mountain. And she was unhappy and full of self doubt.

My grandmother, who had so much to be proud of and to celebrate, never rejoiced. There was always something that could have been done better by someone else. A lost opportunity that could have changed the course of her life. A love that was never accepted as true or unconditional.

On Thursday my grandmother was moved into hospice. As the attendants came to help her into her new space she turned her head and said "you tricked me." I believe she was referring to the belief she was going to have to go back to the hospital. But I also wonder if it was a statement about life. "You tricked me." I thought I was going to get well if I had the surgery. I thought I was going to be able to hike in the mountains forever. I though I was going to be in love. I thought I was going to paint. I thought I was going to travel. I though I was going to .... I thought I was going to be happy.

During our visit my grandmother shared that she wished she had listened to her grandmother when she was younger. "She knew so much about history and life, I should have paid attention and asked her to share her stories." As she said this I thought to myself - my grandmother knows so much about history and life. She has shared so many stories with me. She has shown me so much of what can be accomplished. It is from her that music flows from my fingers. It is from her that I can see colors and textures in the sky and translate these onto canvas. She taught me how to tell stories. She taught me how to appreciate the outdoors. But most importantly, she taught me why I need to celebrate and why I need to rejoice in myself and rejoice in my family and friends.

There will always be someone who is more accomplished, smarter, prettier, brighter than I am. There are always going to be moments that I look back on and say - what if? But there is never going to be another opportunity for me to live this life. This one where I can be happy without regrets and qualifiers. This one where I can look upon my family and friends and say wow. They are great! Where I can look at myself and say wow. I am great!

When I have children I will tell them about my grandmother the Indian princess. I will sing to them the songs she sang to me and point to the sleeping princess as we drive by Mount Shasta. We will hike in the woods and I will uncover the shooting stars that are nestled in the pine needles. I will hand my children paint brushes and show them how to paint flowers like my grandmother showed me. And in my memories and those of my children I will celebrate my grandmother's life. And I will say wow. She was great!

Monday, June 25, 2007

a house made of straw ...

When I was little my father used to always tell us the story of the three little pigs. First pig, straw house, kaput after the first huff. Second pig, stick house, huff puff, gone. Third pig, house of bricks, huff puff, huff puff, huff puff....nada. The wolf is still blowing for all I know. The moral of the story is that if you build your house of bricks it won't be blown down by a big ugly rabid dog.

The obvious metaphor to life aside, is there real a reason why we don't build our homes out of straw? Sometimes in life you need to think outside of the box to truly see what opportunities exist. Here is an example from a friend of mine:

As I continue to explore the feasibility of building a straw-bale house , I want to plant a seed/paint a picture. Think of the barn-raising scene from Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Now see yourself in the picture, only you're hoisting straw bales into position in between dances. Or, allowing for bad backs, administering water or prepping the BBQ for any other free labor I can wrangle. Think of it as an eco-friendly weight resistance workout.

There is a huge part of me that wants this plan to come to fruition. I'd love to be able to dance around the bails as each block is stacked. I think the plans look great and there is something truly liberating about the idea of moving to a town where this idea would be feasible. But at the end of the day, I think I might not be able to be that little pig. I guess I would always wonder about the big bad wolf and when I could expect my house to come down.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

then and now ...

As I have mentioned, my high school reunion is coming up. Ironically, today I received a picture taken a little more than 10 years ago (which would have been around the time of the last reunion.) For pure entertainment, here is my age progression:

High School ...

10 years later ...

now ...

I think my hair stylists needs a big tip.

Friday, May 18, 2007

life before retirement ...

I've recently been given an opportunity to consider something I didn't think was possible for at least another 20 years - retirement. I did not recognize the opportunity as "retirement" until just last night but now it is starting to become clear that I may well be retiring from my current career and moving onto a new phase in my life. Weird huh.

So anyhow, in talking with a girlfriend (who is also considering retirement) she brought up the idea of becoming a goat farmer. At first I thought she was kidding but then we started discussing the goat cheese industry, the tie to the wine region, and the idea of taking that retirement dream and putting it into play before traditional retirement age.

Today, I received an article, from another friend, about an IT professional who after working for a "real jerk" decided to hang it up and become a painter.

"Originally I planned to do something like this when I retired, but I didn't want to wait that long. Who knows what could happen between now and then? If there's something you really want to do, do it now."

Could it be that the idea of living life each day should expand out to the 8 - 10 or 12 hours a day we spend trying to make money?

I've always said that life is short. Yet somehow, I was also willing to sign over approximately 9.5 years of my life. Sure, looking at it that way is dramatic. But what if someone said to you at the end of your life, I am going to give you 9.5 years to do with what ever you choose. And during those years you will be young, and healthy, and full of imagination. What decision would you make.

Retirement still seems like a scary option. But perhaps in discovering what it is that I want to do, I will discover a way to enjoy every minute of those 9.5 years today so that when they ask me at the end if I need them back, I can say no " I lived them the way I wanted the first time."

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

I am not pond scum ...

My high school reunion is coming up next month. I received the invitation last night and with the request to choose either chicken or beef was a questioner asking us to identify who we are today. The questions, not unlike those found on a social security form, gave me pause not for what they asked but for what they seemed to say about life and the past x many years.

Where do you live?
Does your family still live in the area?
Are you married and for how long?
Do you have kids, how many and how old?
Where have you traveled in the world?

And then this one ….

What is your biggest accomplishment?

At the same time I am pondering this question, my husband is working on the commencement speech to deliver to his high school alma mater. And, I wonder what really matters about life the day after graduation, 5 years down the road, 10 years 15 or even 20, that can be surmised in a commencement speech or answered on a reunion questioner.

There is a country song that says “sometimes you are the windshield, sometimes you’re the bug.” And I think that’s true. As I have come to discover, life does not provide a guarantee that the success or failure of today will result in future success or failure. Life, evolves and we either make the choice to evolve along with it or fight. Either way change occurs.

So, maybe that is the answer. My biggest accomplishment to date is evolution. I am not pond scum. I am also perhaps not a highly intelligent life form able to understand the wonders of the world. But somewhere in between I think I have been able to focus in on what really matters. And oddly enough I think it may come down to something our friend Flavius once said over beers at the Sloop. “Life is easy, you just do the right thing.”

Life is easy, be happy, enjoy each day, face challenges not with either fear or determination but with a calmness of breath and knowledge that “this to shall pass.” If it is sunny outside, don’t spend the day indoors. If there is warm bread on the table with butter, have a slice. Don’t not plant flowers because you have allergies, carry a Kleenex and celebrate the relief that a sneeze can bring. Lie in the grass and look up at the stars. Lie in the grass and pick out the animals, people and spaceships that fly by you in the clouds. Get a dog. Rejoice when said dog eats through your favorite sweater. She was truly happy while she was destroying it. Get on the ground with your children, things are really cool and interesting from their perspective. Do the right thing. If you have to think about it, or are trying to justify it, it is probably not the right thing. Decide here and now what you want your biggest accomplishment to be and then decide if that accomplishment will matter to anyone you love. If the answer is no, think about it some more.

Monday, April 30, 2007

happily ever after ...

wedding puzzle ...

key to marriage .... puzzle ...

For those of you who may still be working on the crossword puzzle from our wedding .... here is the key. Thank you for coming and for playing along with us.


1. Dave's aunt or christmas ____
7. Dave's Neice
8. Yellow colored Italian liquour
10. _______ computing
12. Nickname of Dave's Caltech Roommate
13. Life's a ______
15. Site of Dave and Lisa's first date
16. Witness to Dave and Lisa's first kiss
18. Grandma named after dog, Dave's side
20. X-files ex-roommate
23. Weirdo, Dink, Squirm
24. Lisa's Italian Boss?
25. Name of Dave and Lisa's house: Villa _____
27. Lon's company: ____ Systems or what you need to run a meeting
28. The painter not the sister
32. ______ State Cougars
35. Lisa's first boss
37. Biochemist of the fountain
39. Bacon family pasttime, or saying "The capitan of the Titanic had bad ice sight"
40. Dave and Lisa trivia pub local
43. The Swede
46. Lisa's Favorite City
48. Site of proposal: _____ door
49. Pink bird


2. Cousin's wedding where Dave and Lisa "met"
3. Goose color
4. ______ Beavers
5. Dave and Lisa's Fido
6. Destination of the Yreka Western Railroad
9. Montague Diplomat
11. The place where we leave it up to the gods and do the best we can
14. 3rd Street neighbors, north
17. Lisa's car (model)
18. Lisa's favorite country
19. Volcano or Hometown
20. The sister not the painter
21. 2459 ___ Hill Ave N, Seattle, WA
22. Dave's Caltech house
24. Dave and Lisa's favorite wine
25. Dave's sheep or three heavenly bodies in a row
26. Ken's band, ______ Biscuts or what's never around in Seattle
29. Former guardian of Dave's piano
30. 3rd Street Neighbors, South
31. El cantador or Lisa's old boss
33. Se halba ______?
34. Dave's quantum blog
36. Lisa's neice
38. Denis's famous cake: ____ fruit
41. Test's breed
42. Dave's sport
44. Grandma named after dog, Lisa's side
45. Who's Jolly Cone?
47. ___ Bears

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

life's a beach - revisited ...

Two years ago, Dave and I re-met over pink drinks at a little bar in Maui called Life's a Beach! This fabulous night led to 730 additional, and ever increasingly wonderful, days and nights. Even though we are now in the midst of planning our wedding, we still wanted to take time to celebrate our meeting. So last night after dinner we went to Hawaiian bar in Seattle and settled into the tiki decor to enjoy a pink drink.

Sure it was raining outside, and the bar was empty, but as I sat on the stool next to Dave and we began talking about our future, our lives today, our interest, and our passion for one another, I had a flash back to that first night in Hawaii and how excited I was to be sitting with this wonderful, funny, handsome, entertaining, and intelligent man. I like to think that I am grateful everyday for the life I have and for being able to share this life with a wonderful companion. But sometimes you need to go back to the beach to really realize how lucky you truly are.

Friday, March 16, 2007

turkey dance ...

So, among the list of to-do items we still need to finalize the music for the reception. After looking at the DJ's top 200 songs I was having major high school dance flashbacks. This could be because our H.S. DJs always came from Medford. It could be because there is some weird time warp happening in that part of the country. For whatever the reason, going with the pre-packaged music is less than desirable.

Last Sunday, Dave and I sat down with our respective laptops and began to go through music to see what we would like to include. It was kind of like dueling PCs. He'd play a song snippet and then I'd interrupt with one and so on. Towards the end of the bottle of wine, the songs that were being added were somewhat questionable - yes, I did put David Cassidy "I think I love you", but I avoided his brother Shwan's "The Do Run Run."

So before, we start entering them into the DJs online play list (yes I was surprised too), here they are (all comments are welcome):

Artist: Song
10000 Maniacs : These are the days
Alanis Morissette : Head over feet
Aqualung : Strange & Beautiful
Bachmen Turner Overdrive : Takin Care
Band of Horses : part One
Beach Boys : God only knows
Ben Folds : The Luckiest
Billy Idol : Rebel Yell
Brad Paisley : She's Everything
Bright Eyes : The first day of my life
Cameo : Word Up
Cindy Lauper : Girl's Just Wanna Have Fun
Counting Crows : Accidentally in Love
Craig Morgan : A little bit of life
Cyndi Lauper : Time after time
Dead or Alive : You spin me round
Death Cab for Cutie : I will follow you into the dark
Deepeche Mode : Personal Jesus
EMF : Unbeliveable
Fat Boy Slim : Praise
Frou Frou : Holding out for a Hero
Gwen Stefani : What are you waiting for
Gwen Stefani : The Real Thing
Hot Chocolate : You Sexy Thing
Israel Kamakawiwoole : Somewhere over the rainbow
Jeff Buckley : Hallelujah
Joaquin Phoenix : Get Rhythum
John Denver: Annie's Song
Johnny Cash: In My Life (What a wonderful world?)
Josh Turner :Would you go with me
Kieth Urban :Making memories
Kylie Minogue :Can't get you out of my head
Little Big Town: Bring it on love
Louis Armstrong: What a wonderful world
Magnetic Fields :The Book of Love
Maroon 5 :Sunday
Men w/o Hats: Pop Goes the World
Nat King Cole :Unforgetable
Nora Jones: Come Away with Me
Oasis: Wonderwall
Pink Floyd :Paint me at the sky
Pretenders: Angel
Queen: The Wedding March
Queen: Crazy Little Thing Called Love
Richie Vallen :La Bomba
Rod Stewart: Have I told you lately
Romantics: What I like about you
Shawn Colvin: When you know
Shikira: Hips don't lie
Sister Sledge :We are Family
Sixpence: Kiss Me
Sonny and Cher: I got you Babe
The Brian Setzer Orchestra :Crazy Little Thing Called Love
The Cure: Friday
The Foundations: Buttercup
The Pretenders: Angel of Morning
Usher :Yeah
White Stripes :We are going to be friends
Young MC: Bust a move

turkey w/ stuffing ....

So, even though I am trying to go cold turkey... I would still like my own blog to reflect the hours of work that I have put into my wedding obsession. So here it is turkey w/ stuffing...

My family was DIY before DIY was cool. Mostly it was out of necessity but now that I am at the point in my life where I have the resources to buy "store bought" there are still somethings I would prefer to do myself.

My first DIY project for the wedding was our Save the Date cards. We are getting married on April 15th, tax day! One of the things I most value in our relationship is our sense of humor. When we looked at the traditional cards they did not reflect our relationship. So.... we decided to send tax forms to our friends and family instead. Unfortunately, a fair percentage of our guests thought this was a solicitation or worse yet, information from the IRS. But, those guests that got the joke, seemed to really enjoy our unique approach.

Save The Date Card

Map / Memento : Memento / Map

Once the cards were sent, it was time to find invitations. Again, we wanted something unique and a little bit different. When I started researching invitations I went into sticker shock! $6-$10 per invite is not unusual but seemed a bit unreasonable. Fortunately our friend Anandi recommended Not From A Box and they did a great job printing a very simple invitation. I decided that I did not need to pay someone to tie the ribbons (how hard could that be - note, it is very hard) and we decided that we would add a map to finish off the package.

The map became a bit of a challenge. You see "map" can be defined differently by different individuals. For example, if you are marrying a extremely bright scientist, he may define map as a tool to get from one destination to another. I on the other hand defined map as a piece of art that would symbolize our lives while making note of where the wedding would be held. After much conversations and many different versions of the map we settled on a solution that would meet both of our requirements one side would be defined as a pictorial memento and the other side would be a Map.

Never a bridesmaid ...
I've always wanted to be a bridesmaid. However, as I get older I realize that this dream of walking down the aisle in a brightly colored ball gown is not shared by any of my girlfriends. So, we decided we would give the honor of being dressed up in funny clothes to people who would truly appreciate it - the children in our lives. Our wedding party will consist of 3 bell ringers (this is apparently an English tradition where children enter before the wedding parties and ring bells to announce their arrival), 2 flower girls and one best person (Dave's sister who is by far the best person either of us know. My mom has spent the last couple of months at the sewing machine creating the costumes for the big event. Below is my niece Rawine modeling the final product (which is "itchy" but "twirls"). She says that she is going to wear it to school after the wedding to show and tell. "It's a ball gown you know"

Fortunately I am not the only DIY person in the family. Dave, albeit not a DIY with paper and scissors, is a wonderful DIY in the computer and developed a great web site for us (the logo doesn't begin to do it justice.)

My favorite part of the site is the story of how we met:

Lisa and Dave met......over pink drinks at the "Life's a Beach" bar in Maui...
where they both were attending a wedding...
the wedding of Dave's cousin Lynn from Seattle...
Lisa being a friend of Lynn and Dave's other cousin from Seattle, Beth...
with Lisa having been introduced to Dave's cousins by Dave's mother and father...
when Lisa went to visit Dave's parents cabin in Etna...
a visit where Lisa was accompanied by her parents...
who lived just down the road from Dave's parents cabin...
because Dave's mother and Lisa's mother had known each other for years...
and even worked together...
and Lisa had worked for Dave's father during the summer...
on a tourist train run by Dave's father...
where Dave sold coffee(we hope that answers all your questions)

The Dress and Shoes! Glorious Shoes!
so, now we are on to attire! Yay! This is truly one of my favorite parts. The dress looks something like this:

Dave and I arrived at my parents house the day before Christmas in part so that I could see and try on the dress. After two of my mother's tremendously yummy cinnamon rolls I went in to see the dress which was hanging on a dress form. "I am not that size" I said to my mom. "That is the size of your other dress," she replied. "That is not going to fit" I said. "Try it on," she said. I did, it didn't and we've now been on a diet since Christmas. Fortunately, when she came up to Seattle a few weeks ago the dress was a little too big. So now, I am on the maintenance diet which goes something like - one day on, one day off. I seem to be at my heaviest on Monday and lightest on Friday - go figure ; )
My fabulous mom has now made this dress 3 times. The first time in muslin so I could see what it looked like. The second time in silk (after I called her and told her that I had reached my goal weight) and the third time because the modifications she made to the second dress did not come out as she would have liked. I really thought the second dress is perfect. I can't wait to try on the third - sans the cinnamon rolls.

Here are the shoes I am not wearing but will forever be remembered as the shoes I wanted to wear:

Great, huh. Too bad they snagged the dress when I walked and were tremendously uncomfortable.
Da,da,tada ...
Finally we get to the wedding!
Our wedding is going to be a three day affair (10 days for a few lucky friends).
Day one - Family Dinner (we are not rehearsing therefore no rehearsal dinner)
Day two - Latin pre-party. I work in the Latin America region and many of my friends are making the trip up so we decide to hold a pre-funk at a cool club the night before the wedding. Mojitos and Salsa dancing - how fun!
Day three - Wedding!!!
Day 4-10 - We are bring 6 of our friends on our Honeymoon to Hawaii! We've rented a house on the big island and plan to spend 6 days having a great time with our friends followed by 4 days enjoying married life together and just the two of us.
so there you have it - the stuffing. I think I will still post on the other side dishes ; ) we've had some great pre-events which deserve to be captured.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

cold turkey .... or should we serve duck?

8 months ago Dave and I became engaged. Within the first week, I had a PowerPoint presentation created that outlined our venue options, flower choices, dress selection, color pallet, and I think even the timing of the conception of our first child. All of this was done without the help, or knowledge of the "wedding blog." Now you'd think that I, with my unabashed admiration for all things internet, would have thought to search out the blog world for the latest and greatest in wedding design. I did not. Within 3 weeks of our engagement the flowers were ordered, the photographer hired, the venue set, the dress pattern purchased (thanks to mom), the save the date cards designed and sent to the printers, bada bing bada boom I sat back and patted myself on the back. Why are there so many shows and magazines on weddings? Who are these Bridezillas and what is their problem? This wedding thing is a snap!

We are now at 31 days and counting and I have become addicted to the wedding blog. Weddingbee to be exact. This isn't your average wedding blog with one gushing BTB waxing on and on and on about every detail of her (note it is never "their") impending nuptials. This blog features multiple BTBs waxing on and on and I can't tear myself away! I wonder if Miss Strawberry has found her shoes, I worry about Miss Kiwi's lack of excitement about her intended, I lust after new links to more blogs that will feed my need to know more wedding details and find more suggestions that I, in my ultimate quest to be organized, failed to consider when I drew up my original PowerPoint plan!

Like any addiction, this started out as fun. I would spend a few minutes at lunch or after work reading the daily posts and perhaps check out some of the offered suggestions and links. No harm and certainly no additional investment in things I didn't already know I needed for the wedding.

Then the visits became more frequent, the "to do list" began to grow and all of a sudden I found myself designing a "wedding logo" which can be placed on all of our "wedding accessories" such as: menus, cocktail menus with custom drinks names, favor tags, thank you letters for the out of town guests, napkins, programs, CDs with the music from the reception, lapel pins for our guests to wear to identify themselves to others (blue would be the grooms guest, pink mine), decals for the walls of the hotel, gobos (lighting template) for the dance floor, coloring books for the kids and coasters, we need lots and lots of coasters!

Like any addiction, I have now felt the need to hide my obsession, sneaking internet time before sitting down to watch TV (which of course is turned onto Whose Wedding Is It Anyway.) Searching out unique tiaras which should be considered (if not for myself at least for the flower girls.)

Perhaps this is a manifestation of my having lost control of the wedding planning process. After trying to work with the hotel long distance, I finally admitted defeat and called in my wonderful sister and her business partner to take over. They are dealing with the issue of why the champagne can't be served after the ceremony instead of before the cake, and how to accommodate our vegetarian guests (it is apparently hard to explain to someone who lives within cattle country why anyone would not eat beef. Who are these people we are inviting anyway?)

And so, like a good 12 step participant, I am going to take it one day at a time. I've promised Dave no new projects (which I am assuming means no new internet purchases for the wedding as well.) And, I am going to not read the wedding blog, search for wedding related materials, spend hours on illustrator designing wedding accessories (read above), watch wedding TV, or look at anything that could be used in a wedding in any way. That's it! I am going cold turkey!

of course .....

we still need to outline the ceremony
write the vows
take a photo for the NY Times and one for the Siskiyou Daily ; )
finalize the programs
pick the music for the ceremony, dinner and reception (chicken dance anyone?)
finish the guest book(s)
pick up the rings
get gifts for the kids

does anyone know of a recovery center for wedding addiction?

Thursday, February 22, 2007

my Wii wedding ...

I haven’t blogged for a long time in large part due to the Wii and my upcoming Wedding. Both have consumed my days, nights and everything in between. Today the inevitable happened and the Wii and my Wedding converged when I called my DJ to work on the schedule.

Me: Hi, I’d like to talk to Amy about my April 15th wedding.

Him: Are you really calling from Nintendo?

Me: Yes, is Amy available?

Him: Wow that Wii is incredible!

Me: (jumping into work mode) Yes, it really is. Have you had a chance to play?

The rest of the conversation was all about the Wii. I am hoping that Amy will get the message to call back, I still need a DJ.